BRIDGESIDE FARM

 

The railway bridge was built in 1863 when the G.W.R extended the line from Princes Risborough to Aylesbury, with a stop at Kimble. Because of the bridge, the view from Lower Icknield Way changed after thousands of years.

By the bridge, at the beginning of the century, lived Jack Orchards and his son William, who turned beech wood into chair legs. Their apprentice was Elisha Briars, who brought his work down from the hills when completed. They also sold thin strips of wood left over for pea-sticks to gardeners. Bert Batty remembers they had a horse and cart with a big basket on, for carrying wood, or for selling bundles of firewood, and often he and his friends had a ride in the basket going to school - until Tom Redrup fell out and broke his leg.

In 1907 after Jack Orchard went to run the White Cross Pub, first Archie Smith and then Alf Smith lived there. Archie was the milkman who delivered the milk by horse and cart, but later he owned a "spanking new" Morris Minor that he never drove more than ten miles per hour. It was said that the ponies ran faster in the races in the meadows, than Archie's car!

Len Foster remembers bowling a hoop from the top of the bridge to see how far it would reach into the village which shows how much traffic there was in the twenties. At the same period local people walked to Kimble station to get the Saturday train to Aylesbury for 9d. At the market they would wait until it was getting dark when the stall-holders sold off the fresh produce. Families would bargain for large joints of meat and crates of oranges - even if the ones at the bottom were rather squashy. These were carted by the railway porters to the station for 3d and put on the train. At Kimble all the locals got out, and loaded their bargains into old prams, which were left at the station, and walked home with enough food for a week.

The railway bridge had its tragic moments too, as in 1938 a lady in a depressed state threw herself over the bridge and was killed on the railway line.

Archie Smith died in 1950 before speeding traffic came over his bridge.

A new bungalow was built by the bridge, and after several traffic accidents, the rise of the road bridge was lowered and levelled in 1980.

Footnote: Alf Smith dealt in firewood, among other things, and lived in a cottage by the hump-back bridge. The cottage was pulled down and John Springell built Bridgeside Farm.

Alf Smith died after 1965 and Archie Smith died after 1970.

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